Ed note: I know you’re used to seeing Max today and me on Friday. But he’s out today and I’m out Friday so here we are. I’m going to keep this a little more brief than your typical Friday Rumblings, though.
Since I had to move them on Friday, we’re going to lead off with Royals blogs.
Hosmer will forever have his place in franchise history for his role in those championship seasons. Boy, did the Royals dodge a contractual bullet when they lost out on him to San Diego. If you’re looking reunion, just glide past Hosmer’s name…What about Wil Myers? He’s generally a more productive hitter than Hosmer and plays a position (right field) of need. I wrote about the long shot free agent wish that the Royals pursue Michael Conforto, perhaps they could explore a trade with the Padres for Myers. With a contract they’re looking to shed, that means they would probably be happy with a controllable major leaguer (a reliever, maybe?) while packaging Myers with a prospect. Provided the acquiring team take on the entirety of Myers’ salary.
Meanwhile, David Lesky was looking at position player projections:
Catcher - This one is pretty easy, generally. I feel like the Royals will trade Gallagher at some point. He’s a very good backup, but they also have Sebastian Rivero and MJ Melendez on the 40-man roster. While Rivero profiles as a backup long-term, Melendez would be a different sort and the Royals might like carrying three catchers if he and Salvy are splitting some time at DH and with the roster rules reverting to their intended maximum of 13 pitchers, teams should be able to find a spot for a third catcher in a situation like this.
Royals Reporter Kevin O’Brien looks dug into Brad Keller’s Baseball Savant numbers:
When looking at run value data of pitches Royals pitchers threw in 2021 via Baseball Savant, Keller’s four-seamer was the worst pitch thrown by any Royals pitchers and by a considerable margin. Here’s a look at the 10 worst pitches thrown by Royals pitchers on a run value end, and notice Keller firmly entrenched up at the top of the list.
Now, on a run-value per 100 pitches end, Keller’s four-seamer (2.5) wasn’t as bad as Jackson Kowar’s changeup (5.5) or Daniel Lynch’s changeup (3.9). That being said, it was still the third-worst pitch thrown by Royals pitchers on that metric, which is not a badge of honor by any means.
Before I get to the blog quick hitters - just a quick little shout out for those who don’t read Rumblings on Friday. During 2020, Darin Watson had a post a day at U.L.’s Toothpick, chronicling the Royals 1980 season. This year, he’s going day-by-day through the 1977 season. Just to give you a sample, here’s some of yesterday’s entry:
Off the field, Kansas City sent left-handed pitcher Bob McClure to Milwaukee as a player to be named later, completing the offseason deal for catcher Darrell Porter and pitcher Jim Colborn. The Royals had already sent catcher Jamie Quirk and outfielder Jim Wohlford to the Brewers.
- Jordan Foote at Inside the Royals (SI): “‘Don’t Anticipate’ Spending Big in Free Agent Frenzy 2.0”
- Trey Donovan at Inside the Royals: “The Royals Can Be Competitive in Many Aspects This Season”
- Mike Gillespie at KOK (Fansided): “The Hot Stove is getting hotter for former KC Royals”
- Also Mike: “Should the KC Royals call any Pittsburgh free agents?”
- Shawn Bauman at KOK: “Invitees hope to turn heads”
- Mark McCarthy at KOK: “Will Scott Barlow close again?”
Onto the “official” Royals news.
Click on this Tweet to see the Royals Spring broadcast schedule (it’s an image and they don’t embed nicely):
#Royals have announced their spring training radio broadcast schedule. All 17 spring games will be available to stream on https://t.co/WtpT0h0LKB, including the games on 610 Sports Radio or 1660 The Score. pic.twitter.com/UDrMWSo5rm— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) March 14, 2022
Our first AP story of the year came down from Dave Skretta, talking to Dayton Moore about his young team:
Dayton Moore has spent more than three decades in baseball, first with the juggernaut Atlanta Braves of the 1990s and the last 16 in charge of the Kansas City Royals, leading them to two World Series and a long-awaited championship. He still sounds like a giddy schoolboy when spring training begins.
Which is altogether appropriate: The Royals begin camp Monday at their base in Surprise, Arizona, with one of the youngest rosters in baseball, led by a bunch of 20-something arms and with even more youth coming up through the system.
“There’s nothing like that first day, those first couple days, when players come together,” said Moore, who s now president of baseball operations after passing along the general manager title late last season to longtime understudy J.J. Piccolo.
Alec Lewis with his story about the first day of big-league camp yesterday:
NEW — Sights and sounds from day No. 1 at Royals big-league spring training: https://t.co/9dNzKiIXQM— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) March 15, 2022
Lynn Worthy on the beat for The Star with his report from the first day:
The Royals expect to have 61 players in big-league camp. As of Monday morning, Royals manager Mike Matheny said there were a few players traveling internationally who still hadn’t arrived. “We had a couple with international flight issues,” Matheny said. “Short notice. Put them in a bind. I had trouble getting a flight, so I can’t imagine coming from out of the country. I could’ve jumped in a car and made it happen. They didn’t have an option.”
So far, no players have come in with major health concerns. The players were not allowed to have any contact with the team nor the medical staff during the lockout, so the coaching and training staffs would have just learned about any physical issues players had in recent days. Relief pitcher Tyler Zuber was dealing with a shoulder ailment that will delay his participation in spring training but it’s not thought to be a serious injury.
A trio of stories from MLB.com. The first was from Anne Rogers with her first day impressions:
Perez spent the offseason in Miami working with a group of players that included Jorge Soler and Aroldis Chapman. Before the lockout, the Royals helped Perez get baseballs and a pitching machine to help train because he couldn’t work with special assignment hitting coach Mike Tosar and bench coach Pedro Grifol like he had in past years.
“Personally, I’ve just got to be ready, prepare myself,” Perez said. “It’s something that I could not control. I was ready. You practice every day. I was sad, a little bit, when I heard at first that we were going to cancel a couple games. The good thing is we’re going to play 162 games and we’re not going to miss any games. I’m happy to be back in here, and I can’t wait to start the season.”
She also wrote about where Whit could be playing this year:
Because it could be second base, it could be right field — it could be anywhere for the versatile veteran. “I got all my gloves here,” Merrifield said. “… We’ll see where they put me. They should have a utility Gold Glove. We’ll see. It’s one thing I’ve learned, what we have in place today will change by this time next week. So I’ll stay ready for whatever they throw at me.”
MLB Pipeline had a story with a bunch of prospect notes:
Witt knocked an opposite-field single in his third and final at-bat to go 3-for-3 in the Royals’ first scrimmage against another team this spring. Witt did commit one error playing third base, when he couldn’t make a clean transfer on a hard-hit ground ball in time for the out, but he looks to be heating up at the plate as the Royals speed toward Opening Day on April 7.
A couple of MLB-wide stories
MLB and MLBPA considering restoring the stupid extra-inning runner rule. BOOOOOO!
Also, it’s not really a ghost-runner. A ghost-runner takes the place of an actual runner and moves as many bases as the next hitter moves. This actually has a real liver person as a runner that is inexplicably placed at 2nd base because of... reasons. Stupid reasons.
MLB is also looking at other potential rules to implement in the minors this year:
Major League Baseball is once again preparing to roll out a slate of experimental rules across the minors this summer designed to speed up pace of play and increase action on the field. Rules that debuted at the lowest levels in recent years — including a pitch clock and a ban on defensive shifts — will be tweaked or expanded and a new use of robo umps for a challenge system will be tested for the first time.
While the Royals haven’t gotten in on the action yet, there have been a flurry of other transactions around the league:
- Arguably, the biggest news of the day is that Fernando Tatis Jr. fractured his wrist and could miss up to 3 months
- The Braves traded 4 prospects, including two top 100s, to the A’s for Matt Olson. This likely means Freddie Freeman’s time in Atlanta has ended
- The Reds continued their “it’s not a fire sale” fire sale, trading All-Star OF Jesse Winker and 3B Eugenio Suarez to the Mariners for some prospects and to get out from under Suarez’s contract
- Jakob Junis has left the Royals, signing with the Giants for 1/$1.75M
- Eminently likable Andrew McCutchen signs with the Brewers
- A number of RPs and utility players found homes in the NL: Brad Hand (Phillies), Odubel Herrera (Phillies), Sean Doolittle (Nats), Adam Ottavino (Mets), and Chad Kuhl (Rockies)
It’s not a Friday so I can’t use video game music. But
in the interest of laziness I can tie this into other stuff I write about instead. I’m hoping to get to work next week on the RR Asian Baseball preview. Below is Men Envy Children with “Rock You 10”, which, near as I can tell, is solely a promotional song for the Rakuten Monkeys, but don’t quote me on that. In games that I watched in 2020, it was played as a hype video before a number of games.